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XHTML to PDF using Flying Saucer java library.
Ruby Java
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lib fixed bug if project full path containing space



acts_as_flying_saucer is a Ruby On Rails plugin that allows to save rendered views as pdf documents using the Flying Saucer java library.


Grab the last version from Github:

./script/plugin install git://


JDK 1.5.x or 1.6.x

It was developed under Mac OS X Leopard but it should work on any operating system with a compatible Java Virtual Machine


Just call the acts_as_flying_saucer method inside the controller you want to enable to generate pdf documents. Then you can call the render_pdf method. It accepts the same options as ActionController::Base#render plus the following ones:

:pdf_file - absolute path for the generated pdf file.

:send_file - sends the generated pdf file to the browser. It's the hash the ActionController::Streaming#send_file method will receive.

:password attach password for generated pdf

:debug_html - (boolean expected) generates html output to the browser for debugging purposes

class FooController < ActionController::Base

  def create
    render_pdf :template => 'foo/pdf_template'


# Renders the template located at '/foo/bar/pdf.html.erb' and stores the pdf 
# in the temp path with a filename based on its md5 digest
render_pdf :file => '/foo/bar/pdf.html.erb'

# renders the template located at 'app/views/foo.html.erb' and saves the pdf
# in '/www/docs/foo.pdf'
render_pdf :template => 'foo', :pdf_file => '/www/docs/foo.pdf'

# renders the 'app/views/foo.html.erb' template, saves the pdf in the temp path
# and sends it to the browser with the name 'bar.pdf'
render_pdf :template => 'foo', :send_file => { :filename => 'bar.pdf' }

# To send file with password protection
   render_pdf :template => 'foo', :send_file => { :filename => 'bar.pdf' },:password=>"xxx"

Now pdf is password protected

Easy as pie

While converting the xhtml document into a pdf, the css stylesheets and images should be referenced with absolute URLs(either local or remote) or Flying Saucer will not be able to access them. If there is no asset host defined, it will set automatically during the pdf generation so the parser can access the requested resources:

View rendered in the browser:

<%= stylesheet_link_tag("styles.css") %>
#<link href="/stylesheets/styles.css?1228586784" media="screen" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />

<%= image_tag("rails.png") %>
# <img alt="Rails" src="/images/rails.png?1228433051" />

View rendered as pdf:

<%= stylesheet_link_tag("styles.css") %>
#<link href="http://localhost:3000/stylesheets/styles.css" media="print" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />

<%= image_tag("rails.png") %>
# <img alt="Rails" src="http://localhost:3000/images/rails.png" />

The stylesheet media type will be set to 'print' if none was given(otherwise it would not be parsed)

If you need to distinguish if the view is being rendered in the browser or as a pdf, you can use the @pdf_mode variable, whose value will be set to :create when generating the pdf version


These are the default settings which can be overwritten in your enviroment configuration file:

ActsAsFlyingSaucer::Config.options = {
  :java_bin => "java",          # java binary
  :classpath_separator => ':',  # classpath separator. unixes system use ':' and windows ';'
  :tmp_path => "/tmp",          # path where temporary files will be stored
  :nailgun =>false

Advance Configuration

Now acts_as_flying_saucer call java each time on creating pdf this will speed down speed of generaion of pdf.To overcome this start nailgun server that reads data from specific port and rendered there is no need to launch the jvm everytime a new pdf is generated.

So to start nailgun with acts_as_flying_saucer plugin:

./script/plugin install git://

Start nailgun server.Before starting nailgun server make sure that your classpath environment variable set and point to jre/lib

script/nailgun start rake nailgun Generate pdf with nailgun you have to overwrite Configuration make nailgun option to true Now after making nailgun option true run

rake acts_as_flying_saucer


Now you are ready with nailgun.

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